Local residents upset with council's decision on 47 percent pay raise

By Dan Wells - bio | email

FAIRFIELD, OH (FOX19) - Some Fairfield residents are upset over the city council's decision to give themselves a 47 percent raise.

The vote was made Monday night, and while the councilmembers say the raise is warranted, others aren't so sure.

It's a big financial move in Fairfield catching some off-guard!

"I think its outrageous. I didn't hear anything about it at all," said Fairfield resident Julie Jordan.

Fairfield City Council voted Monday night to increase their annual pay from $6,500 to $9,600 dollars.

"When you look at the amount of money, it's not that much money for the hours we put in," said Fairfield mayor Ron D'Epifanio. "You don't do it for the money, but you'd like to break even."

The mayor and council say they advertised this vote three times. Incidentally, they also say they haven't received a pay raise since 1980, but residents say they're still shocked.

"You don't begrudge anyone from getting a raise, not at all, but at the same time 47 percent in one shot, that is a lot," said resident Gilda Carvajal. "I mean we are all waiting for a raise, including myself. I've opened my business in 1979, and ever year is harder and harder."

Fairfield's charter doesn't allow for the pay increase to take effect while the mayor or council members are still in office.

"I didn't have a vote, but I think it was warranted," said D'Epifanio "Now this doesn't go into effect until myself and the three at large run again next year, so whoever gets elected at that time, they will start receiving it in January of 2010. Now the other four council members won't receive it for another four years until they have to run again."

The mayor also says city officials are among the lowest-paid when compared with people who are doing similar jobs in comparable cities.

"Why would it have to be now considering the economy the way that it is," said Jordan.